Zoom in with Zack
Happy New Year Meadowbrook! 2020 has finally come to an end and we can now move on to 2021. If only the break were as easy as that. Unfortunately, getting everything back to the way it was is not going to be as simple as throwing out the old calendar and hanging up the new one. The struggle continues and we might imagine an end being in sight but have no idea where that could be.
While physically, nothing has changed from December 31 to January 1. Covid is still here, the pause order is still in effect, and our personal financial situations remain the same. But mentally, it gives us the opportunity to choose a new start. Every year so many people choose this time to make New Year’s resolutions. Gym memberships explode in number, exercise equipment flies off the shelf, and salads show up on the table as we try to overcome the Christmas binge. But within a matter of weeks the gyms are empty again and we’re munching on our cheeseburgers in Culvers (Never McDonalds). The New Year offers us so many new opportunities, but the question is how are we going to maintain a sustainable change for the better?
We have had a year full of changes and we have so many more in front of us to come. Anthony Knotts will be arriving in a matter of weeks to lead our youth and worship ministries. We are going to feel that initial excitement. We are going to get behind him, encourage him, and welcome him. A youth ministry will need to be built basically from scratch. We have an opportunity for a new start here in 2021. How do we create an excitement and passion that is sustainable and supportive beyond the first short period of hype?
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 NIV (2011)
The answer is to maintain relationship with one another. Keep in touch even if it is more difficult and not in person. Encourage one another and shut down murmuring before it has a chance to start. Lift up each other together. Go to God in prayer together. Pray over one another instead of praying for each other in your personal time. Be involved in each other’s lives. Feel a burden of responsibility for someone else. Look through your directory and make a phone call to that name that you haven’t seen in months. Rejoice in what is good instead of complaining about what is wrong. Just make sure that whatever you are doing, you are doing it together.
That is why New Year’s resolutions fail. There is no community, no relationship, no accountability. We succeed together and we fail apart. What 1 Thessalonians is describing is discipleship. If we practice discipleship, our fire will not fade and we will emerge from 2021 as passionate about what is to come as we are excited about what could be today. Let us resolve to see Meadowbrook thrive in the year to come by committing to discipling relationships in one another’s lives.
Introducing Anthony Knotts
A Little About Me…
Last month, I asked our worship team to answer a few “get to know you” questions. What I’ve found is that we have such a wealth of life experience and testimony right here at Meadowbrook! As I’m soaking it all in, I’m thinking about my first article for our newsletter. So it seems fitting that I share and answer those same questions!
How did you come to know and accept Christ, and how did you come to serve on the worship team?
I first started attending church when my family moved to Lakeview, Oregon in 1998. There was a little Church of Christ just a block down the street from us, and we were there almost every time the doors were open. The pastor was gentle, patient, and kind, and mentored me through some pretty rough years. He and mom encouraged me to go to summer camp that year, I accepted Christ at Little River Christian Camp the summer I turned 12. I started serving on the worship team shortly thereafter.
What do/did you do for a living? What do you love about your job/career?
Like most of us, I’ve worn many different hats that include millwork, retail, electrical, manufacturing, engineering, writing, marketing, and ministry. I love the experiences that come from such a diverse background, but it’s a blessing to have the opportunity to pour into the ministry full-time right here at Meadowbrook! God deserves our all.
What’s your family background? Where are you from?
I grew up in rural Oregon, surrounded by mountains, trees, miles of hayfields, and the reality that the cattle population outnumbered the people in many parts of the state. Living on a farm in the country taught me to appreciate the natural world and the creatures that God has entrusted to our care. Sophie is from the city-scapes of Maine and Connecticut, amidst the hustle and bustle that city life brings. Together, our different backgrounds give us lots to draw from in raising our daughter, Grace Ann.
What are some of your favorite activities and hobbies, sports teams you root for, etc.?
I enjoy watching baseball, basketball, and the one hockey game I got to see in person, however, I am not a big sports fan. Sophie has always been a Red Sox fan, but mostly enjoys reading, puzzles, and anything cat related. I enjoy all things worship, working with youth, writing, games, and sci-fi.
What does “worship” mean to you? How do you worship on a daily basis? How do you believe you could grow in your daily worship life?
Worship starts with God. Without Him, I have no ability, reason, or worthiness to worship. As I listen to Him, and devote my life and everything I think, say, and do to Him, I learn from Him how to worship Him how He deserves. It starts with the personal relationship I have with Him, and that shows through as I do life. I spend time daily in the Word, prayer, and worship through song. Every chance I get, I also try to get away for some quiet time to connect with Him in the beauty of nature and recharge. I get busy sometimes, so I could probably grow in slowing down and letting God worry about the big stuff.
Sophie, Grace, and I are so happy to become part of the Meadowbrook family and get to know you as we meet the needs of our communities together. God has great things in store for His church, and we’re in good hands as long as we trust and follow Him. See you very soon!
Always in Christ,
Anthony, Sophie, and Grace Ann Knotts
Message from the Elders
How did you like 2020…?
I can see some eye rolls and shaking heads, and hear some moans and groans. To be sure, we have just finished a year unique to our history. I’ve heard several comments indicating a great hopefulness that 2021 will be a “better” year.
Let me repeat the question: How did you like 2020? As I thought about this question, I was reminded of a story told by a well-known preacher several years ago. He was visiting with an older man in his church who had recently experienced a heart attack and subsequent recovery. At some point in their conversation, the preacher asked the man an interesting question: “So, how did you like your heart attack?”
“Oh, preacher,” the man exclaimed, “it was awful – the pain was intense. I was afraid I was going to die. My life flashed before my eyes. I’ve never had such a terrifying experience!”
The preacher asked a few more questions. “Tell me, since your heart attack, has your relationship with your family improved?”
The man replied, “Oh yes, I’ve realized just how precious my family is to me!”
“Have you made any changes in your habits since your heart attack?” the preacher asked.
“I sure have”, he responded, “I’m much more careful about what I eat now, and I’m even exercising every day. I never did that before.”
The preacher continued, “And how do you feel when you wake up each morning?”
The man answered enthusiastically, “You know…I feel great! Every day is a wonderful gift from God, and I am so thankful for the days He has given me!”
One final question from the preacher: “So, tell me…how did you like your heart attack?”
2020 was not what any of us expected, and probably not what we hoped for. As we turn the calendar to a new year, I encourage you to take some time to think and pray about how the events and challenges of last year have affected your daily lives, how they have heightened your appreciation for being with your families and each other, and provided more down time (for some) and the opportunity to “be still” in God’s Presence. Our patience and endurance has been tested (and isn’t that how we grow?), and we eagerly desire to be together, even when it means wearing a mask and not getting too close – for now.
Certainly the journey of 2020 is causing us to look forward with great anticipation to what 2021 will bring. I believe God has been at work through these trying times – at work in the world, and at work in our lives, preparing us and His church for what is around the corner.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
One more time: “How did you like 2020?”
Happy New Year to the Meadowbrook family!
Reminder: If you are in need of prayer or have other needs, please reach out to one of the elders. We lift up this congregation daily in our prayers, and we are here to help.
Join in to make Blessing Bags for the homeless
Blessing Bags for the homeless will be packed at the January Sisters in Service meeting on Sat., Jan. 16, at 10 a.m. with items we are asking you to consider donating. Help make the project a success by donating one or more of the essential items listed below by Jan. 10 in order to reach as many people in need as possible. SIS will purchase additional items to supplement donations to complete each bag if necessary. Items may be dropped in plastic bins located in the foyer clearly marked for drop off either on Sunday or during the week when Zack is in the office (Monday through Thursday). Blessing Bags will be distributed by Lighthouse in Pontiac.
Please note: The January SIS meeting was initially planned for Saturday, January 23. However, we moved the meeting to Saturday, January 16, at 10:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall, to enable earlier delivery of the bags to Lighthouse.
Items for Blessing Bags
Very warm socks (men’s & women’s)
Scarves and gloves (men’s and women’s)
Hand lotion, Lip balm, Deodorant
Travel size tissue packs
Large band aids 3-4″ size
Granola bars, peanut butter or cheese crackers
Handwritten note of encouragement, possibly including an appropriate Bible verse.
The missions committee wishes to thank the Meadowbrook congregation for your generous support of missions initiatives throughout 2020, including your faithful giving via the faith promise program. Each of our 14 missions partners received a Christmas gift of $55 in addition to their normal support checks in December.
Looking ahead to 2021, our spring missions rally will focus on our newest mission partner, the Karamoja Bible Study Center in Uganda. We will share more information about the missions rally in the coming months. Please keep all of our missions partners in your prayers as we enter the New Year.
Ron Borton – January 4
Matt Cox – January 8
Don Edwards – January 14
Linda Tingley – January 14
Lothar Rossol – January 17
Darrell Cox – January 19
Aleczander Cox – January 25
Cathy Podvin – January 28